July 2008


Margo Candela lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. She was a journalism major who turned her hand to writing novels. Her third novel, More Than This, is out in August.

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  1. What inspired More Than This?

    I was sitting in health class my first semester of junior college and noticed that a very cute guy had noticed me. We sorted of skirted around each other for the rest of the semester, but for whatever reason, we never took the chance on taking it to the next step, like, saying 'hi'. Ever since then I've wondered about people who have these missed connections and how it affects their lives. I know it did mine because I still wonder what might have happened if I'd been a little bolder.

  2. Do you believe in love at first sight?

    I certainly believe in a reaction at first sight, whether it be love, attraction or something a little darker. It's just a matter of letting yourself be open to experiences and trusting your instincts. It's such a wonderful idea, to fall completely in love with someone without knowing anything about them, having them experience the same thing at the same instant. I don't think it happens a lot but I know it does happen.

  3. How did you get into writing novels?

    I was writing for magazines and websites and then had a baby. I stayed home with him until he started preschool and during those years I kicked around some ideas for novels, wrote while he was napping. The day he started school I made a business plan for myself, set time lines, wrote up to-do lists and committed to finishing my first novel by a certain date. Even though writing a novel is a completely creative endeavor, I treat it as a job and business. I still set goals and reevaluate to make sure I stay on track.

  4. What's the best and worst thing about being an author?

    It's lonely and isolating work which may sound like similar complaints but they're quite different drawbacks to being a full-time author. I work at home by myself so I don't have that support system of a traditional office and all the small dramas and joys that go with working outside the home. But since I need to be able to focus and not be distracted by other people, I need to work alone. I do try to venture out to write at other places but I usually find myself just watching other people or feeling very self conscious about doing something that I consider private in a public space.

  5. Which of your characters do you identify with the most?

    There's a little bit of me in each of them. They all have a sense of humor and a rather jaundiced attitude towards relationships. They also make tons of mistakes. I find imperfect people a lot more interesting than someone who has everything together.

  6. In Life Over Easy, Natalya decides to create a recipe for the perfect man. What ingredients did you look for?

    Natalya was a businesswoman, first and foremost, and she approached her recipe with the same attitude. She wanted a man who was on the sophisticated side, firmly in his adult years, comfortable with himself and put together. Those are all good things to want but if I was going to add a couple of more ingredients for my own perfect recipe I'd add a sense of humor. It would be at the top and bottom of my list. There's nothing I love more than being around someone who is witty since it makes me try harder to be the same. I love to laugh at myself, others and nothing in particular.

  7. Why do family ties feature so significantly in your books?

    As hard as I've tried I haven't been able to get away from my own family. And, as I've gotten older, I've realized how much I rely on them just to be there for me. They know me best, keep me grounded and offer me a shoulder to lean on when things get a little confusing. It's also part of the Latino culture. Family is family, no matter how crazy they may drive you.

  8. How has your Mexican heritage influenced your writing?

    I grew up in Los Angeles, raised by parents who were born and raised in Mexico. I like to think I've retained the best of what my parents had to offer me and the ability to go out and make my own life. All my characters share that, ties that bind, but they ultimately go on to live their own lives.

  9. Tell us about your next novel How Can I Tell You.

    How Can I Tell You is not going to be anything like More Than This. It's a single perspective story told in first person by a character named Raquel. She's a mess, in a fun way. She's going to make tons of mistakes and have to figure out how to set things right which won't always work out in her favor.

  10. What have been the best books you've read this year?

    I read a lot, it's my main vice. But I have to admit that I've been preoccupied with getting How Can I Tell You done so it's been hard to immerse myself in a novel. During these times I read the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly and magazines, magazines, magazines. Since I'm living, essentially, in a fiction world created in my head, a timely magazine story makes me feel a little more connected. Once I turn HCITY in, I have a list of novels I plan to read. I'm really looking forward to freeing up that part of my brain so I can enjoy them.

  11. Do you mind your books being branded chick lit?

    Not at all. When people ask (and even when they don't) I say I write women's commercial fiction because my books don't tend to have tidy happy endings. The heroine usually doesn't end up with the right guy or any guy. I write to entertain and maybe enlighten along the way, but my main motivation is for the reader to enjoy the ride. It's all about marketing and the term chick lit will let a reader know what kind of experience they can expect.

  12. Who is your favourite book heroine?

    Now that I think of it, my favorite fictional character is not only not a woman but isn't even an adult. I am and will remain an admirer of Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth (by Norton Juster). The journey he goes on is one of the best I've ever read along with. It may be a book for kids but it's never stopped me from re-reading it and enjoying it as much as I did when I was one myself.

  13. What TV show would you most like to be on?

    I have to admit it is a reality show, The Amazing Race. But at the same time I'd never go on because I really don't want to learn that much about myself, my partner and have it broadcast on television. The idea of having to step out of my comfort zone and confronting what scares and frustrates me most really appeals to me, but I know (from watching) it's a very messy process. I'd rather keep some of my dignity even if it means I'll never bungee jump off a building in Indonesia.

  14. What's been the biggest lesson you've learnt about publishing?

    Publishing is not a career for someone who is into instant gratification. It's a long process with plenty of bumps and detours along the way. It's a business, same as selling cupcakes or insurance and you're only as successful as the people who you work with are or want to be. A happy editor and agent make for a happy writer, so you have to make sure you surround yourself with people who feel as passionately as you do about what you're doing so that you can focus on your part of the job to make sure it gets done.

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